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Remembrance

To help children understand Remembrance Day and why it is important for them to remember.

by The Revd Sophie Jelley

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)

Aims

To help children understand Remembrance Day and why it is important for them to remember.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two memory game trays: one with 8–10 easily identifiable items, including a poppy, the other with 15 more obscure items, including a poppy. Cover both with cloths.
  • Ask a teacher beforehand to be involved by playing the game.
  • Make sure you are wearing a poppy.
  • Be sensitive to your context, e.g. if you are near a military base (parents serving overseas, etc.), or if there is local history to take into account.

Assembly

  1. Ask: who has got a good memory? Hands up if you can remember what you had for breakfast this morning? What you had for tea yesterday? What you did on Saturday? Who you first spoke to when you arrived in your classroom today? What your first day at school was like? (adapt questions as preferred).

  2. Suggest that being able to remember is an amazing thing. Our brains are so clever that they can store up things for years and years, like a small but super-powerful computer. In fact, in so many ways our brains are more wonderful and more powerful than even the biggest computer. Say that you’re not going to ask them to remember years and years back today, but you have brought a game to test their short-term remembering. It’s called the memory game – they might have played it before.
  3. Bring out the first tray, still covered. Say that there are some items on the tray, and that you’d like a volunteer to come and look at them for 30 seconds and then remember what they have seen.

    Choose a volunteer and play the game. If they don’t remember everything, ask the rest of the children to help out. Applaud the volunteer and ask them to sit down.

  4. Ask the children if they think that their teachers are as good at remembering as they are. Shall we find out? Bring out the second tray, and ask the teacher to play the game. Admit, after you’ve had some fun, that you made it more difficult for the teacher!

  5. Say that there was one item that was on both of the trays – can anyone remember what it was? A poppy. Poppies are sold and worn every year around the time of 11th November. This was the day in 1918 when the First World War ended. It was decided that people would remember on that day each year all those men and women who had died in the war so that we could live in peace in our own country.

    Since then Remembrance Day has been used to remember everyone who has died in wars throughout the world. Although 1918 is long before we were born, it is still important that we do this today because there are lots of countries in the world who do not live in times of peace. We should not take our peace for granted. Christians believe that God wants people to live in freedom and peace and with justice. We should be thankful for the people who have given their lives so that we are free to live ours in peace.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Every year a two-minute silence is held throughout the country at 11 o’clock in the morning on 11th November, and these words are read:
‘They shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We shall remember them.’
(Laurence Binyon)

We keep a short silence to think about what we have heard.

Prayer

Heavenly Father,
We remember those who have lived and died in the service of others.
We pray for all who suffer through war and are in need.
We ask for your help and blessing to do good in the world you have made,
and to live in peace and harmony with one another and with you.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Think of a world without any flowers’ (Come and Praise, 17)

Publication date: November 2005   (Vol.7 No.11)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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